The Monolith Monsters

The Monolith Monsters is a 1957 American black-and-white science fiction film from Universal-International, produced by Howard Christie, directed by John Sherwood, that stars Grant Williams and Lola Albright. The film is based on a story by Jack Arnold and Robert M. Fresco, with a screenplay by Fresco and Norman Jolley.[1]
The Monolith Monsters tells the story of a large meteorite that crashes in a Southern California desert and explodes into hundreds of black fragments which have strange properties. When those fragments are exposed to water, they grow very large and tall. The fragments also begin to slowly petrify some of the inhabitants of a nearby small town. The story that unfolds becomes one of human survival against an encroaching unnatural disaster, that if not stopped, could become a national ecological nightmare that could pose a possible threat to all of humanity.
SPOILER BELOW
In the desert outside of San Angelo, California, a huge meteorite crashes and explodes, scattering hundreds of black fragments over a wide area. The next day, Federal geologist Ben Gilbert (Phil Harvey) brings one of the fragments to his office, where he and local newspaper publisher Martin Cochrane (Les Tremayne) examine it. That night, a strong wind blows over a full water container onto the black rock, starting a chemical reaction.
When Dave Miller (Grant Williams), the head of San Angelo’s district geological office, returns from a business trip, he finds Ben’s corpse in a rock-hard, petrified state and the office’s lab damaged by large rock fragments. Dave’s girlfriend, teacher Cathy Barrett (Lola Albright), takes her students on a desert field trip; young Ginny Simpson (Linda Scheley) pockets a piece of the black meteorite rock, later washing it in a large tub outside her family’s farmhouse. In town Dr. E. J. Reynolds (Richard H. Cutting) performs Ben’s autopsy and cannot explain the body’s condition; he informs Dave and Police Chief Dan Corey (William Flaherty) the body is being sent to a specialist. Martin returns to the wrecked office with Dave where he recognizes the large fragments as the same type of black rock Ben had been examining.
Cathy joins them, also recognizing the fragments. She goes with the two men to the Simpson farm; they find the farmhouse in ruins under a large pile of black rocks and Ginny’s parents dead. The girl is still alive but in a catatonic state. At Dr. Reynolds’ request, they rush her to Dr. Steve Hendricks (Harry Jackson) at the California Medical Research Institute in Los Angeles. He later reports that Ginny is slowly turning to stone; her only hope lies with identifying the black rock within eight hours. Dave brings a fragment to his old college professor, Arthur Flanders (Trevor Bardette), who determines that it came from a meteorite. Back at the Simpson farm, both men notice a discoloration in the ground: The black rock is draining something from everything it touches, including people. Later, tests show that silicon is that substance; in humans it is normally just a trace element. Dr. Reynolds explains that research indicates that one possible function of silicon in the human body is to maintain human tissue flexibility. They suddenly realize that the meteorite’s absorption of silicon was the cause of Ben’s death, Ginny’s condition, and the death of her parents; Steve then prepares and administers a silicon solution injection to the girl.
Returning to the desert, Dave and Arthur trace the fragments to the crashed meteor. Arthur deduces that the meteorite’s atomic structure has been radically altered by the intense heat of atmospheric friction. Back in the lab, a rainstorm blows up while Dave and Arthur continue their investigation. A piece of black rock falls into the sink and begins to react when hot coffee is poured on it; the men then realize that water is the culprit. With it raining outside, they hurriedly return to the desert and see the black fragments now growing into stories-tall monoliths that rise up and then crash back to Earth, breaking into hundreds more fragments, each fragment then repeating that cycle. Dave quickly realizes that the monoliths’ advancing path will take them directly through San Angelo, and from there the monoliths could spread and possibly threaten all life on Earth.
They report and explain the threat to Dan, who then makes plans to evacuate San Angelo. The governor is notified, and declares a state of emergency in the San Angelo area. At the hospital, Ginny finally revives, and Dave deduces that something in the silicon solution will check the fragments’ growth. More locals are soon rushed to Dr. Reynolds’ office in various stages of petrification. With little time left, and the telephone and electricity cut off, the monoliths continue to multiply and advance, soaking up water from the rain-soaked soil. Dave and Arthur struggle to find the correct formula; they finally realize the monoliths can be stopped with a simple saline solution, a part of Steve’s silicon formula.
Dave plans to dynamite the local dam and flood the nearby salt flats, creating a large supply of salt water. Because the dam is private property, however, Dan attempts to contact the governor for permission to blow up the dam. Knowing they must halt the monoliths at the canyon’s edge, Dave acts without waiting for the governor’s approval and the dynamite is detonated. The group watches as a huge torrent of water flows over the salt deposits at the canyon’s edge, reaching the monoliths; their growth is finally halted when the last huge formation of monoliths crashes down into the salty water. Dan reveals to the group that he had finally reached the governor who told him not to blow up the dam, pauses, and adds unless Dave was absolutely certain of success. As they all laugh, Dave then comments, first repeating Martin’s earlier assertion that the region’s salt flat was “Mother Nature’s worst mistake”, then pointing out, ironically, that this near-disaster has just proved otherwise.

The Mothman Prophecies

I watched the 2002 movie The Mothman Prophecies. I give it 2.5 out of 5. The video extra by Low on the DVD is pretty good.

[From Wikipedia] The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 American supernatural horrormystery film directed by Mark Pellington, and starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. Based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel, the screenplay was written by Richard Hatem.

Alien Artifacts: The Lost World

I watched Alien Arifacts: The Lost World on Amazon Prime. My mind wasn’t blown but it was interesting. I give it 2.8 out of 5.

[From  IMDB] The shocking existence and unexplained origins of artifacts that are so technologically advanced they have mystified scientists and researchers for decades. They defy comprehension and contradict all we have been told about the ancient world. From the 500,000 year old spark plug, to the billion year old metal spheres, prepare to have your mind blown with the fascinating Alien Artifacts found on planet Earth.

Rain Parade’s David Roback Dies


[From Wikipedia] David Roback (April 4, 1958[1] – February 25, 2020) was an American guitarist and songwriter, best known as the founding member of the duo Mazzy Star. He died on February 25, 2020.[2] Roback was born and raised in Los AngelesCalifornia, and attended Palisades High School, graduating in 1975. He and his brother Stephen Roback, a bass guitarist, formed a band called the Unconscious, which also included Susanna Hoffs, who would go on to become the lead singer and guitarist of The Bangles. Roback was active in the Paisley Underground music scene in Los Angeles in the early to mid-1980s as the leader of the band Rain Parade, which was popular on the local club circuit. Shortly after the release of the band’s first album, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, in 1983, Roback left Rain Parade to join Rainy Day, a collaborative effort with a number of Los Angeles musicians in the Paisley Underground. After releasing their self-titled album, Roback formed Opal (which was initially called Clay Allison) with vocalist/bassist Kendra Smith, formerly of The Dream Syndicate. After one EP and one album, Smith was replaced by Hope Sandoval, but this lineup never released an album. Roback changed the name of the band to Mazzy Star in 1989.[3] Roback wrote and produced the songs that actress Maggie Cheung sang in the 2004 film Clean. He also played himself in the film. He died on February 25, 2020.[4][5] His songwriting and sound ideas have been quite influential on Lana Del Rey as the Guardian head rock and pop critic Alexis Petridis stated.[6]

Country Top 50

My Top 50

I chose these from the Top 1000 List  played on Sirius/XM 30. I have included the ranking number from the original list.

1) 20 Hank Williams Your Cheatin’ Heart
2) 8 Roger Miller King Of The Road
3) 349 Dwight Yoakam Guitars, Cadillacs
4) 106 Garth Brooks The Thunder Rolls
5) 47 Hank Williams Hey Good Lookin’
6) 407 Alison Krauss When You Say Nothing At All
7) 457 Dolly Parton Jolene
8) 84 Jimmy Dean Big Bad John
9) 122 Floyd Cramer Last Date
10) 109 Tom T. Hall I Love
11) 37 Kenny Rogers The Gambler
12) 107 Roger Miller Chug-A-Lug
13) 87 Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man
14) 160 Garth Brooks Rodeo
15) 116 Hank Williams Cold, Cold Heart
16) 1 Garth Brooks Friends In Low Places
17) 138 Johnny Cash/June Carter Jackson
18) 41 George Strait All My Ex’s Live In Texas
19) 29 Loretta Lynn Coal Miner’s Daughter
20) 64 Johnny Cash Daddy Sang Bass
21) 93 Tennessee Ernie Ford Sixteen Tons
22) 188 Roger Miller England Swings
23) 848 Shelly West Jose Cuervo
24) 792 Taylor Swift Love Story
25) 3 Johnny Cash Folsom Prison Blues
26) 771 Hank Williams Jr. Born To Boogie
27) 736 The Band Perry Better Dig Two
28) 386 Taylor Swift Our Song
29) 13 Willie Nelson On The Road Again
30) 330 Little Texas God Blessed Texas
31) 968 Taylor Swift Mine
32) 945 Dwight & Buck Streets of Bakersfield
33) 163 Alan Jackson Chattahoochee
34) 297 Dolly Parton Coat Of Many Colors
35) 69 Glen Campbell Gentle On My Mind
36) 404 Carrie Underwood Before He Cheats
37) 931 Taylor Swift Mean
38) 140 Don Gibson Oh, Lonesome Me
39) 57 Zac Brown Band Chicken Fried
40) 961 Dwight Yoakam Little Sister
41) 454 Hank Williams Move It On Over
42) 354 Little Big Town Girl Crush
43) 564 Dwight Yoakam Honky Tonk Man
44) 71 Hank Williams Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
45) 710 Randy Travis Diggin’ Up Bones
46) 711 Hank Williams Honky Tonkin
47) 484 Lady Antebellum Bartender
48) 774 Hank Williams Lovesick Blues
49) 859 Taylor Swift Back To December
50) 958 Randy Travis Too Gone Too Long
Honorable Mention
300 Don Gibson I Can’t Stop Loving You
177 The Band Perry If I Die Young
12 Garth Brooks The Dance
52 Taylor Swift Tim McGraw
62 Garth Brooks If Tomorrow Never Comes
89 Roger Miller Dang Me
101 Buck Owens I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail
151 Buck Owens Act Naturally
158 George Strait Ocean Front Property
173 Johnny Cash (Ghost) Riders In The Sky
179 Randy Travis Deeper Than the Holler
225 Glen Campbell Galveston
262 Tom T. Hall Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine
828 John Anderson Swingin’
830 The Band Perry All Your Life
838 Don Gibson Sea Of Heartbreak

Iphone Plant To Make Masks

The other day we realized we were getting low on masks at the pharmacy and went to order some more. There were none to be found, anywhere. The Coronavirus has scared millions into purchasing them, even though they will probably do little good. Here is a follow-up story I found:
[From BBC.com] Electronics giant Foxconn, maker of the Apple iPhone, is taking the unusual step of switching part of its production to making surgical masks.

The firm is also pushing to be allowed to reopen its regular production lines making electronics, which have been closed due to the coronavirus.
The outbreak has seen demand for masks soar and caused a shortage of supplies around the world.
Foxconn aims to produce two million masks a day by the end of the month.
“In this war against the epidemic, every second counts,” the firm said on the social media platform WeChat.
“The earlier we take precautionary actions, the earlier we can prevent the virus, the earlier we can save lives, the sooner we can overcome this.”
As well as the iPhone, Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, makes parts and consumer electronics products including the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, and PlayStations.
The company said it had already started test production of masks at its flagship manufacturing plant in Shenzhen in southern China.
The masks would in the first instance be to protect its workers from infection, something that the firm believes: “is not just Foxconn’s biggest corporate responsibility, but also our social responsibility”.
Once full production had started it would start providing masks to people outside the company, it added.

The firm also said that it would use a new generation of infrared temperature measurement equipment at its facilities to help detect any potential coronavirus infections in its workforce.
Like other companies, Foxconn responded to the outbreak by closing most of its operations during the Lunar New Year break. In previous years it had kept its factories running during the holiday. It is now seeking permission from the authorities to restart work at the closed plants.
The announcement came as concerns grow that factory closures and travel restrictions across China will have a major impact on the supply of goods around the world.
Some analysts have estimated that global smartphone shipments could fall by as much as 10% this year, and cause a shortage of iPhones, especially the new iPhone 11.
US car maker General Motors has also joined efforts to resolve the surgical mask shortage.
Its Chinese joint venture SAIC-GM-Wuling has announced that it will set up 14 production lines with the goal of making 1.7 million masks a day.

NASA Mathematician Dies at 101

[From Wikipedia] Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020) was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.[2] During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her “historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist”.[3]

Angel Has Fallen

I watched the 2019 movie Angel Has Fallen last night. It is the third film in the Fallen series and did an excellent job. The drone scene is great. I give the movie 4 out of 5 stars and the extras on the disc, 5 out of 5 stars.

[From Wikipedia} Angel Has Fallen is a 2019 American action thriller film directed by Ric Roman Waugh. It is the third installment in the Fallen film series, following Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016). The film stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo, Nick Nolte, and Danny Huston. The plot again follows United States Secret Service agent Mike Banning, as he races against time to clear his name after being framed for an attack on the U.S. President, Allan Trumbull.

The film was officially announced in October 2016, and Roman Waugh was hired in July 2017. New members of the cast were added in early 2018, and filming began in February of that year around Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.
The film was released in the United States on August 23, 2019, by Lionsgate. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $147.5 million worldwide. Plans for future sequels and TV spin-offs are in development.